Finding the right sitter for a long stay

Hi all, We are planning a 3 month trip this summer/fall. I hope to find a sitter who will love staying on our little farm and won’t be surprised or disappointed by the realities of rural life (Lots of wildlife! Beautiful views! Sometimes smells like poop!). I’d like someone who will handle small issues that arise but knows if and when we need to be contacted. I’ve provided a large binder of info and help numbers, etc. The house is in great shape and, aside from things I can’t control (natural disasters, power outages) I don’t envision any crises, but you never know. I want to do everything possible to create a scenario where it’s an enjoyable getaway for both of us and not a strain in these unpredictable times. I also wish to limit responses to those who believe they are a really good fit as I hate turning people down :sob:

Assuming this isn’t all too much to ask from a sitter, where would I put this info in my listing? I’m not sure what sitters see when I post dates, is it under Responsibilities? As a sitter, what would give you comfort in taking a long term sit like this? What concerns might you have? I’ve never had such a long trip planned, I appreciate any input!

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I’d mention under “responsibilities” the fact that you are looking for people who are independent, flexible, experienced & can basically cope with unforeseen circumstances.

As you say, you can never foresee everything. We are on a 4 month sit and in the first 2 weeks the dog got ill, the owner’s car broke down & we had to replace the water heater because of a leak. The owners were mortified, but things like that happen and I’m sure experienced sitters realize that.

As a sitter I always find it reassuring when there are phone numbers of a plumber, garage, neighbours in case of an emergency, …

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Els thank you for the thorough response, it’s so helpful and reassuring! I can’t believe all those things happened, what a bummer for both of you. Sounds like you handled things with grace, I hope we find someone like you :smiley:

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@Shafofo Just the fact that you are considering these things goes such a long way!

  1. Pictures are great to give detail on the home, pets, and area. Show all the areas a sitter will be living in and include pictures of the area they will be responsible for (lawn, shed, etc). And of course, pictures of the pets!

  2. Home and location: A couple of things we always appreciate seeing here (but don’t usually find) are internet speed and near-by landmarks. Knowing more than a subjective high-speed download/upload is incredibly helpful. And, landmarks help us get a general sense of the area and amenities. And, don’t be afraid to say that the home is rural and might occasionally smell like a farm, or even poop! :grinning:

  3. Responsibilities: Put responsibilities here :wink: Long lists down to the hour/minute are intimidating (unless expected), but should give a sense to your expectations, everything from watering plants to pet care.

Your personality will shine through and we love someone who communicates well and concisely & is also caring and considerate. Your listing doesn’t need 100% of information. More can be shared on a video chat, messages and the welcome guide.

Good luck! Hope the tips have helped a bit :blush:

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Thanks ScrewTheAverage, that’s all super helpful! So if I’m understanding, when you are considering a sit you can see the whole listing aside from the Welcome Guide? I will add more details because a lot of that is in the welcome guide but not in the listing (internet speed, etc). It really is a fine balance between overwhelming with details and offering enough useful info. I greatly appreciate your input :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi Shafoto

If you plan to be away 3 months, why don’t you try to find couples you could meet before, if they are sitting or living not far in order to “feel” they are the right persons

You could suggest some sitters to test themselves during a week end, if you are afraid the task is heavy ? Why don’t you ask sitters with interesting references if you can call previous owners. A farm sit is not a flat sit

you can look first at sitters profiles, selecting all who have been responsible of farms; of the types of animals you own, you can contact them directly choosing who seem the best for you. And use the pause system (look on FAQ) if you publish your ad as soon as you get enough answers to have time to look deeply at all of them, otherwise you may be overwhelmed by proposals (30 +)

More you are clear in your needs, more easily you’ll find the good one(s). They exist for sure

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Provence, I’d LOVE to find a couple who could visit beforehand, that’s my not-so-secret goal. I was a bit worried about limiting my options or discouraging a good candidate, but considering I always have use the Pause function I will start with a fairly specific request and see if I get good responses. If I don’t I can always expand my search.

I hear what you are saying about professional sitters. I’d like to find people who are more interested in this particular stay than just finding a place to crash awhile. I feel better about the trade-off knowing they chose our home and animals for a special experience.

Appreciate your input!

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The welcome guide is only visible to sitters once they have been selected (i wrote once “hired” on this forum, but even with " " it has not been appreciated ! that’s the problem when you’re a foreigner…)
Your préoccupation shows how responsible you are

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Great question to ask. Until recently we only looked for 2-3m int’l sits, and there’s quite a community of nomadic sitters who look for these opportunities. From our perspective, if a sit is rural, we like to know ease of getting around with/without a car, for groceries, vet visits and walking dogs on their regular routes.

@ScrewTheAverage raise good points on WiFi. I would add - say if there’s a working area. We once ended up teaching from an ironing board :slight_smile:

You will want practical, adaptable sitters (probably a couple for a rural farm so you have double cover in case of emergency or illness). Be sure your sitters understand what it’s like to live in a rural environment, and are used to any climatic extremes you might experience.

Providing an “overall mental picture” of the sit in your profile is great but it doesn’t need to be in huge detail - just a clear overview. The detail can be put in the Welcome Guide (seen after sit confirmed).

More important to us is the level of pre-sit communication - the willingness to conduct video chats and do a thorough handover. On our 3 month sits we do at least a full day, often 2 depending on complexity.

Good luck with this, and if you want to run anything by us just ask.

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@provence is correct, the Welcome Guide is post a you and the sitter both accepting and confirming the sit. Most of the day to day details go here, where the listing is a big picture.

We often don’t see things like WiFi speeds, but it definitely on our list of pre-commit questions and always are impressed when we see it in a listing before we even ask :heart_eyes:

We look at the entire listing, including pictures and past sitter reviews if there are any. We pay attention to all the queues within the writing and also the communication post applying. We appreciate good communication, ability to ask questions both ways and do everything we can not to show up and be surprised. A good sitter knows that they aren’t the perfect match for every sit and will do their do diligence (just as you do) to make sure they know your expectations, can manage them and that they’ll enjoy and appreciate the experience. Especially on long stays!

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I have enjoyed reading this discussion. It is a comfort to know other people ask for long term sits and what to post to get a good match. We are in the process of upgrading our internet to a business fiber account. I thought people that needed to work all day may not be a great choice to look after our big family but now I see these people can be professional sitters too. Sharing information helps everyone. Thanks.

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@HousesittingMag thanks for the very helpful details, it’s so good to hear from a sitter’s POV.

I’m feeling so much more comfortable now with everyone’s input! Thank you all. I agree @CRFinca, this thread has some great nuggets of wisdom. I’m so grateful for this forum and the opportunity to share ideas and ask questions!

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